Thursday was an absolutely amazing day for me as an educator and as an Academia Cotopaxi community member. From the beginning of the day right through until I fell into a turkey induced night of sleep, I was riding a high of joy and thankfulness. Our community came together for a beautiful and impressive day of gratitude and celebration. It was inspiring to say the least.
A while back a few of us had the idea to create Cougar Buddies and match our older students with younger classrooms for the sake of building community and sharing in each other’s learning. On Thursday we saw this vision become a reality in many inspiring ways, some unprecedented in this community. Stories of our older kids working with our younger students have spread all over campus and, even better, those older students are telling stories of how they were inspired by the younger kids!
It was a little bittersweet for me because I missed all of the amazing interactions that were happening here on campus. However, missing those interactions was more than made up for because I accompanied our amazing 9th grade class to IMAGINE Valley for a morning of giving thanks and play.
I’m not sure I’ve been able to find the words to adequately describe the amazing experience that was had by every single person on that campus yesterday. From our 9th graders to the IMAGINE students and on to the teachers and staff who were able to witness the sights and sounds of pure joy…it was flat out amazing!
In the four years since our IMAGINE Valley campus has been open we have never managed to get students down there to visit. This 9th grade group was the first assembly of AC students to make the trip. When we left, we had to pull some of those 9th graders away kicking and screaming…they had fallen in love within minutes of our arrival.
To see the way our high school students so quickly got involved and, literally, got their hands dirty was truly a beautiful experience.
The tears from IMAGINE Valley students when we had to leave was evidence that our impact was felt during the short stay on their campus. Equally obvious was the effect those kids had on our 9th graders as the whole bus ride back to school was filled with positive emotions and requests to return to the valley for more opportunities to interact.
This year’s Thanksgiving experience gave me a lot to be thankful for on that day in particular. However, there is a lot that I am thankful for day in and day out at AC. The staff, students, and families who comprise this wonderful community make being a member of the Academia Cotopaxi family an absolute honor. Thanksgiving was evidence of the power of this community to come together and create such an amazing and beautiful experience for our students.
Thank you to everyone who plays a part in making this community so awesome. Whether support staff, student, teacher, or parent, everyone is important to making Academia Cotopaxi the wonderful place it has become. Thank you!!!